Uganda - ICC Review Conference Public Engagement Initiative, 2009-2010

Maximising Engagement between ICC States Parties and Victims and Affected Communities

Pre-Review Conference Delegates’ Visits to Uganda
From January to May 2010, the Human Rights Network – Uganda (HURINET-U), the Ugandan Coalition for the ICC (UCICC) and No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), with the support of the Government of Denmark and in cooperation with the Government of Uganda, arranged a series of visits to Uganda for ICC States Parties Delegates. The visits consisted of a program of meetings and opportunities for dialogue with the key stakeholders involved in the fight against impunity: communities affected by the work of the Court, victims of crimes under its jurisdiction, civil society, and national and local authorities.
The visits allowed participating delegates to maximise their experience of the ICC situation country in which the Rome Statute Review Conference took place in May-June 2010. They also contributed to the stocktaking exercise that took place at the Review Conference by allowing participating delegates to experience first hand the impact of the ICC in its situation countries in relation to each of the themes discussed during the stocktaking process – complementarity; cooperation; the impact of the Rome Statute system on victims and affected communities; and peace and justice.
Final Report
Read the Final Report of the delegates’ visits here
On Human Rights Day, Friday 10 December, the Human Rights Network-Uganda (HURINET-U), No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ) and the Ugandan Coalition for the ICC (UCICC) launched the Final Report on the project of visits to Uganda by representatives of State Parties to the ICC, which was carried out in Uganda from January to June 2010. The event highlighted the main findings of the Project and featured interventions by the Registrar for the ICC, Silvana Arbia; Julian Guerrero, Deputy Head of Mission at the Colombian Embassy in the Hague and a participant in the final visit in May; Joyce Apio, Coordinator of the Ugandan Coalition for the ICC and Niamh Gibbons of NPWJ.
Madame Arbia’s comments focused on the vital importance of the ICC’s work in the field and the importance of strengthening the Court’s field offices in order to enhance its ability to carry out its work in the field effectively and make a strong and positive impact in situation countries. Mr. Guerrero focused on the effect the visit to Uganda had on him personally and on his work as an ASP delegate. He also highlighted how, by spending time in Uganda, it becomes clear that it is vitally important to begin giving serious consideration to the legacy the ICC will leave in its situation countries. Ms. Gibbons summarized some of the main findings of the report, while Ms. Apio highlighted some its key recommendations.
Delegates attending the launch spoke uniformly about the success of the project and encouraged the organizers to continue similar visits in the future in other situation countries, as well as expressing support for further civil society initiatives to support and spread knowledge and awareness about the ICC.
The Forum
Read 'The Forum', a magazine produced by the Ugandan Coalition for the ICC which publishes articles on the International Criminal Court.
The purpose of the newsletter is to:
• identify, describe, and illuminate important current issues on the ICC including the history development and congressional intent of specific provisions;
• Critically analyze the current issues at the ICC and the broader spectrum of international justice. 
Watch Videos of ICC Delegates Visits to Uganda
Documentary Part 1:

Documentary Part 2:



Schedule of Visits and Participants:

  • 29-30 May 2010: H.E. Ambassador Zachary Muburi-Muita, Vice-President of the Assembly of States Parties; delegates from Botswana, Columbia, Denmark and Sweden; and a representative of the ICC Office of the Prosecutor and of the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission
  • 25-29 January 2010: H.E. Ambassador Wenaweser, President of the ASP, and delegates from Denmark, Kenya, Sierra Leone and South Africa.
  • 11-17 February 2010: H.E. Ms. Elisabeth Rehn, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of the ICC Trust Fund for Victims; delegates from Chile, DRC and Finland; and Mr. Renan Villacis, Director of the ASP Secretariat.
  • 29 March - 2 April 2010: Delegates from Argentina, Djibouti, Uganda and Venezuela.
  • 4-9 May 2010: Delegates from Barbados, Burkina Faso, Comoros, Madagascar and Uganda.



In May-June 2010, the Review Conference of the Rome Statute for the International Criminal Court (ICC) took place in Kampala, Uganda. The primary purpose of the Review Conference was to discuss specific amendments to the Rome Statute, particularly the inclusion of the definition and trigger mechanism for the crime of aggression. The Conference also served another important function: to take stock of the International Criminal Court ten years after its founding and to evaluate more broadly the state of international criminal justice. 

To capitalise on the opportunity presented by the Review Conference in Uganda, No Peace Without Justice (NPWJ), the Human Rights Network - Uganda (HURINET-U) and the Ugandan Coalition for the International Criminal Court (UCICC), with the support of the Government of Denmark and in cooperation with the Government of Uganda, carried out a series of activities before and during the Conference. The initiatives created avenues of engagement between representatives of ICC States Parties and the people most affected by the Court’s work in Uganda, in order to enhance State Parties’ understanding of the justice needs and experiences of affected communities; to enhance knowledge and understanding of the ICC among affected communities and the broader public; and to maximise the participation and representation of civil society in the Review Conference proceedings.
Delegates Visits to Uganda Prior to the Review Conference

Between January and May 2010, NPWJ, HURINET-U and UCICC organised 5 visits by groups of high-level representatives of ICC States Parties to Uganda to meet with local communities, civil society groups, ICC staff in the field and Government and local officials.
Each visit lasted approximately five days, including one or two days in Kampala and two to three days in one of the conflict-affected areas of the country. Groups consisted of representatives of between three and six States Parties, usually the same representatives who were part their State’s delegation to the Review Conference or who normally represent their State at the ASP. Several participants were from States that served as Focal Points or Facilitators for various topics of the stocktaking process or other aspects of the Review Conference.
In Kampala and in regional centres, each group held open meetings with local communities, civil society groups, Government and local officials. Some delegates also took part in media outreach activities organised in conjuction with the visits. The program thus served the dual purpose of familiarising the delegates with the concerns of victims and other stakeholders in an ICC situation country, and of broadening understanding of the ICC among key stakeholders and the public in Uganda.
People’s Space and related events at the Review Conference

Prior to the Review Conference opening, HURINET-U, UCICC and NPWJ were joined by other partners in organising an International Civil Society Symposium on Stocktaking, in Kampala from 27 to 28 May. The symposium brought together civil society experts on international and transitional justice to discuss the four stocktaking themes, resulting in a Communiqué that was presented to the President of the ASP, H.E. Ambassador Christian Wenaweser, at the conclusion of the symposium.
For the duration of the Review Conference, a People’s Space was established at the Review Conference venue as a forum where civil society working on issues of peacebuilding and the fight against impunity were able to showcase their work. The People’s Space was officially opened by H.E. Mr. Ban KI-Moon, Secretary General of the United Nations, on 31 May 2010 in the presence of representatives of the organisers, including the Hon. Emma Bonino, founder of No Peace Without Justice; civil society; and delegates to the Review Conference (view press release and photos ).
The People’s Space afforded civil society, particularly victims’ and affected communities’ representatives, an opportunity to participate in the Review Conference, which contributed to the evaluation of the ICC’s impact on victims and affected communities during the stocktaking process. More information on the People’s Space can be found at:
No Peace Without Justice held a number of events at the People’s Space and side events at the Review Conference venue, including:

  • Seminar on Accountability the Political Violence in Guinea
  • Presentation on the Arab Transitional Justice Working Group
  • Closing the Gap: The role of non-judicial mechanisms in addressing impunity – book launch
  • Seminar on Accountability for Violations of the Laws of War in Afghanistan
  • Prosecuting Persecution on the Basis of Gender - panel discussion

During the Conference, a briefing was also organised where State and civil society representatives who participated in the pre-Review Conference visits briefed other Conference delegates on their experiences. Photos of the briefing can be seen here. In the course of the briefing and during a separate meeting held among all delegates who participated in the visits, delegates and others expressed support for the continuation of the visits in other ICC situation countries, in order to grow the group of delegates who have benefited from this first-hand experience. Delegates also expressed a strong interest in finding ways to promote victims issues at future Assembly of States Parties meetings, in order to assist the ICC and the Rome Statute system as a whole to better respond to victims’ concerns.

War Victims Day Football Game
On Sunday 30 May 2010, on the eve of the Review Conference for the ICC, the UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-moon and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni played in the “War Victims Day Football Game”, held at the Nambole National Stadium in Kampala, amidst cheers from about 20,000 people. The 60-minute match was organised by the Uganda Victims Foundation and the African Youth Initiative Network, who were also leading partners in the delegates visits program. NPWJ provided organisational support and technical expertise for the event, which honoured and demonstrated solidarity with war victims the world over.
The football players included: war victims from countries where the ICC is investigating crimes within its jurisdiction (from the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya and Uganda), alongside the President of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC; other ICC Review Conference Delegates including the Ministers of Justice of Italy and the Netherlands; and Ugandan National Team football players. See photos of the game here and here, NPWJ’s press release on the game here, and the website dedicated to the game here.
Greta Barbone: +32 (0) 2 5483910 
Niamh Gibbons: +1 212 980 2558

Further information:

Press Releases and Statements

Reports and policy papers

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